US conducting assessment of Taiwan's defence needs

Discussion in 'Indo Pacific & East Asia' started by LETHALFORCE, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    US conducting assessment of Taiwan's defence needs

    WASHINGTON - Washington has begun a sweeping assessment of Taiwan's defence needs over the next five to 10 years to determine the types of defensive weapon systems the United States should provide it with, a US business leader said Tuesday.

    Rupert Hammond-Chambers, president of the US-Taiwan Business Council, which groups US companies with interests in Taiwan, made the remarks following the 2010 US-Taiwan Defense Industry Conference that took place in Cambridge, Maryland, from Oct 3-5, bringing together more than 140 government officials, scholars, experts and defence company representatives.

    The assessment, the most complete and comprehensive of its kind in 10 years, will include an examination of the threat faced by Taiwan from China and Taiwan's capacity to engage in asymmetric warfare, Hammond-Chambers said.

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    Participants from Taiwan and the US at the annual conference agreed unanimously that although Taiwan and China have concluded an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) that is set to further enhance cross-Taiwan Strait economic ties, China's military threat to Taiwan persists and the strait remains "one of the globe's potential flashpoints," according Hammond Chambers.

    Taiwan's deputy defence minister, Andrew Yang, also said in a speech at the conference that the security threat faced by Taiwan from China has not declined because of ECFA, but in fact has increased.

    Hammond-Chambers said that after the assessment is completed in the next one or two years, the US will not "tell" Taiwan what defence systems it is getting, but instead will "begin dialogue with Taiwan" on the contents of the assessment, as well as on Taiwan's ability to afford arms purchases.

    On Taiwan's renewed call for the US to sell it F-16C/D fighters, he said that to his knowledge, the US is not thinking so much about whether it should sell Taiwan the advanced jet fighters, but more about the best timing to make the sale.

    Hammond Chambers said it would not surprise him if the administration of US President Barack Obama announces the F-16C/D sale within a year, as well as the upgrading of the F-16A/B fighters currently used by Taiwan's air force.

    Yang noted a day earlier that Taiwan has long sought to acquire F-16C/D jet fighters and upgrade its F-16A/Bs to guard the country's airspace and enhance its self-defence capability.

    "The purchase of 66 F-16C/Ds and the upgrading of F-16A/Bs are two different cases and they are not alternative cases subject to choice between the two," Yang said.
     
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  3. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    The Associated Press: Taiwan official says China threat growing: reports

    Taiwan official says China threat growing: reports

    TAIPEI, Taiwan — A senior Taiwanese official has told a defense forum in the United States that despite rapidly warming commercial relations with Taipei, China's military threat against the island is growing, Taiwanese media reported Tuesday.

    The reports call into question the efficacy of China's efforts to use its huge financial resources to convince Taiwanese both in and out of government that political union with the mainland is in the island's interest.

    Deputy Defense Minister Andrew Yang told a U.S.-Taiwan Business Council meeting in Maryland on Monday that despite considerable progress on commercial ties, the mainland is continuing to deploy more and more sophisticated weapons against the island, according to reports Tuesday from opposition and pro-government newspapers and the government-owned Central News Agency.

    Taiwan's Defense Ministry said it couldn't confirm Yang's remarks.

    The media outlets quoted Yang as saying that China has never renounced its threats to attack Taiwan, and that its anti-Taiwanese military posture is at odds with the recent signing of a landmark trade deal between the sides.

    That deal is part of an overall Chinese offensive to woo Taiwanese opinion with promises of lucrative commercial concessions. It aims to overcome strong Taiwanese opposition to unification, the ultimate aim of China's Taiwan policy since the sides split amid civil war in 1949.

    The media reports said that in his remarks Yang referenced a recent comment by Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie to a Japanese delegation that China's 15-year-long military buildup was aimed primarily at Taiwan.

    China currently deploys an estimated 1,500 missiles against Taiwan. The number continues to grow, despite the overall improvement in relations between the sides that has taken place since China-friendly Ma Ying-jeou assumed the Taiwanese presidency in May 2008.

    In a related development, both the pro-government United Daily News and the pro-opposition Liberty Times quoted an unnamed official as saying that the Obama administration has approved an upgrade of Taiwan's fleet of U.S.-made F-16 A/B jet fighters.

    United Daily News and CNA also reported that U.S.-Taiwan Business Council head Rupert Hammond-Chambers said the administration will agree to sell Taiwan relatively advanced F-16C/Ds, long at the top of the island's military wish list.

    The council is a private group.

    Any sales of U.S. weapons to Taiwan would almost certainly prompt an angry Chinese reaction, based on Beijing's belief that Taiwan is part of its territory, and that foreign countries have no business interfering in its affairs.
     

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